I haven’t quite realized yet that I really live here and I’m not just on an extended holiday in an Air BnB. But with each day, it is starting to sink in more and more. Starting work again helped (I am continuing to work at my U.S. job remotely from London, but I took a few days off to get settled when I first came over). And doing things like grocery shop and cook makes it seem normal. I think once all of our furniture arrives it will seem even more normal (right now we are living in a mostly empty flat).
I am so excited to be here, so overwhelmed by all there is to see and do in this amazing city full of history and culture and architecture and character. So I want to share some of the first things I’ve been up to in the past 12 or so days.
On my first day in the city, I procured a few necessary items (hair dryer, shampoo and conditioner, fresh fruit) and explored the neighborhood a bit, and had my first pint in a pub, enjoying the amazing summer weather that the UK is currently experiencing.
I started off the next day, a Saturday, with a run along the river in my new neighborhood – but I intend to write a separate post soon about running in London so far. Then we set out to explore, having lunch and walking and biking around, with a visit to the Saatchi Gallery and then a trip across the river to Battersea.
We wandered around the power station grounds and the nearby Battersea Park, taking a rest there for awhile (I was still kind of jet lagged). I love all of the excellent parks and public spaces in London; it’s definitely one of my favorite features.
On the following Monday and Tuesday, I was off work but Andy was back to the office, so I went off to do some touristy things on my own. I visited the National Gallery, did some shopping around Covent Garden, wandered through St. James Park and down to Westminster, through Hyde Park and Kensington. All places I’ve been to before, but I felt like going to see all these iconic sights to remind myself I was really here, in London, and that I live here now. I came into London so many times in 2000 when I was studying abroad at Oxford, and never would have guessed I’d one day live here. (Or be this old. Yikes.)
Since then, I’ve trying to find a good balance and get into a new routine involving working remotely from our flat and from coffeeshops, on a hybrid of East Coast and UK time, settling into a semblance of normal life yet also embracing a new life, new routines, new schedules, new everything.
I’ve had a few evenings where I’ve met Andy in a pub for a drink at sunset; love that there are so many hours of daylight here now. Trying to make the most of lots of daylight and warmth since I know it won’t last.
Last weekend we did more fun touristy things like exploring the City and going to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral, followed by a visit to Borough Market and an afternoon at a beer festival featuring all London-brewed craft beers.
There is so much to see and do here; I can’t wait to explore more and settle into real life, in London. Unreal!